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tv   Mosaic  CBS  September 28, 2014 5:00am-5:31am PDT

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good morning, and welcome to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weis and i'll be your host this morning. in the jewish community we're in the new year and the day of atonement. with us this morning to talk about the jewish new year is avi rose who is the executive director of jewish family and children's services of the east bay and rabbi michael who is the director of interfaith bay area. welcome. >> thank you let's jump in and first talk a little bit about the agencies that you come from and what they do and then we'll jump in and talk about the new year. the jewish services of the east bay. >> we deliver human services
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across the counties. we've been doing it for a very long time. we do services in the jewish community and in the broader multiple cultural general community. we do a lot of work with early childhood, mental health, older adults, and a lot of work with refugees and immigrants. >> and your zone of service is --. >> the whole east bay. alameda and cannot tra costa -- contra costa counties. >> interer faith bay area. >> we're part of a national organization connected to a website interfaith family.com that offers tons of information for families looking for an entry into into jewish life and might not know where to look for it. i work with families with different back growns that they're coming from. one might have a jewish background, one might have a different background and trying to navigate how to make choices in their family. i work with local folks here in the bay area. >> in some ways you're probably
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very busy with the jewish new year and how the interfaith works with the holiday observance in the area. we have a beautiful writ yaul item. it is called an shofar. it is a ram's horn. we'll hear you give it a good blow later on in the show. we're entering into the 5776 according to the jewish calendar and i'm wondering for you, talk about where you came from and the ways you grew up celebrating the new year, ways it changed for you, what you kind of see for yourself in tha. >> sure. so, i was raised primarily in a conservative synagogue and was fortunate to be in a community that celebrated with a lot of warmth and spirit and i'm fortunate to have that as an
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adult. i'm an active member in my congregation in east bay and feel like it really provides me a to reflect and recommit and celebrate with the community of people who i really love. >> wond. >> and i grew up in a very active synagogue as well. reformed synagogue in southern california and loved the high holidays. we actually went to a church nearby because we had so many people that we couldn't fit in our sank weary which is typical and there were grand organs and pipes and it was a very majestic feeling, kind of a time of year. and actually sang in the children's choir, i loved the music and grew up close to it even though i came from a family that was marginally connected and a little tentative about jewish involvement and i just was drawn to it. >> both of you, i think say something that is interesting
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when we think abou democrat graphic of the bay area when -- dem ogr aphic of the bay area whether it is lgbt or of a particular race or of a particular culture of a particular system where they're actually religious and agnostic. both of you grew wlup you did feel connected -- agree up where you did feel connected. what were some of the elements that you reflect on now that actually kept in engaged? sort of throughout your growing up yeerps into adult hood -- years into adult hood. >> i was very connected with our synagogue community and engaged in the process. i know a lot of kids don't love hebrew school. i was connected with that and felt a deep connection to it. most of the people i'm working
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with, that is not the case. and they might not even have that foot in the door to even know what is going on within the more institutionalized community. i realize now it was a gift that i had. a lot of people are coming into the community and might not have much of the background and there's a lot of assuming that people know what is going on in services that they might know hebrew. it is a high barrier if you haven't had that background. as i reflect on where i came from, i hold that and hold that with the families that i meet with and think, wow, you're coming from a place where this is very new. how can i lower the barrier for you. >> interesting. for me, i was lucky, and i think it is unusual that i had a very positive experience, some what in my synagogue but also in the community. my mother works in the jewish community so i had a positive
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affiliation. but in my late teens and early 20's. i had my time of feeling alienated. as a political activist at time and as a young gay man at the time, i wasn't confident that there was a place for me in the community and it took awhile to come back and find and create my own place in the community fantastic, michael, we'll take a quick break and return in just a minute to mosaic to talk more about the jewish new year and listen to the sound of the ram's horn. join us in just a minute when we return to mosaic. in the small town of elmira, new york, a boy was born into an all-american family. the odds of him opening his own clothing store at the age of 18? 1 in 138,000. excited to be a part of pop culture, he packed for the big city.
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year, the day of atonement. we have michael copeland who is the director of the jewish family and services east bachlt welcome back. we have on the table a beautiful writ yaul object used at the -- ritual object used at the jewish year. the begin aefg the new year and the birth of the world. michael, let's talk a little bit about it. why don't you tell folks what we have here. >> sure. this shofar comes from an antelope. many times they come from a ram. the shorter version. and there is a lot of deep significance for the holidays. one is that the sounds and succession made with the shofar during the services are long, whole note, and then a series of broken notes, and then we come back after that brokenness to wholeness again with a long, steady call and it really
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mirrors one of the major themes the holy days which is that we start whole in our lives and become broken, we experience brokenness in the world around us in our own personal lives, but the reminder is that it will become whole again. it might not be fixed but we'll feel wholeness again in our lives. for me it has been a powerful writ yaul in that the days -- ritual in that the days leading up to rosh hashanah, the month prior and the hebrew calendar, we're asked to do this every day and i actually do it with my children in the morning when we're rushing around in craziness. it is a reminder to keep your eye on the big picture of life. >> you'll give it a good blow and have beautiful sound come out. before i hear it, i want to talk about the negotiation that we know and maybe - notion
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that maybe people don't know that on the spiritual level you talk about the sound of the shofar is a kind of call to wholeness and a kind of spiritual wake up call. an alarm clock. can you talk a little bit about where it comes from biblically. why we think, i know it is not an answerable question, why has it come to this point in our holiday celebration? >> we actually read about a ram and the powerful reading the the rosh hashanah services about isaac's sacrifice, his father almost sacrifices him and it is a powerful and difficult story for many in the hope and redemption and the story is that rather than sacrifice his son, it is a clear message that we don't do that, that that won't happen in this tradition, but
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rather a ram is caught and is sacrificed instead and that is an enduring symbol for us of hope and redemption overtime so i think in a way, historically, shofar, the ram's horn has actually been used for many, many different things and in the jewish sacred scriptures, we read about all sorts of times when it is a call for the community but it is an enduring symbol over the centuries. >> why don't we give it a try? we're going to --. >> beautiful. we'll take a quick break and come back in just a moment here on mosaic. ,,,,
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. good morning. welcome back to mosaic. we're in the middle of a wonderful conversation with avi rose and rabbi michael copeland who is the director of interfaith bay area about the jewish new year and the high holy day season. we ended the last segment listening to the shofar. avi, what do you do during the holidays? how do you approach them. what do you see in the broader community? >> well, i try to start the process at the beginning so the holidays are climaxes are important moments and powerful moments of people coming together but the period of really reflecting and thinking about the past year and what i want to rededicate myself to and
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who i need to seek forgiveness from and who dui need to forgive and -- who do i need to forgive and it starts early and hopefully carries through om kip year. that is what he what we try to do. with the shofar call, which is so powerful. i see it in my congregation and we grapple with how that is not only a call to the pursuit of justice and we're focussing in a particular way this year on the integration of the two on deepening our spiritual practice and connections and deepening and broadening our commitment to pursuing justice in the world that sorely needs it. >> interesting. so you know, we've talked about the month of elul, and that is
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the month that precedes the jewish new year typically thoughts of as a month of preparation and reflection and we move from celebrating creation and then move through to an notion of personal and communal spiritual forgiveness between folks, between a person and god and within a person for him and herself. i'm wondering just in your reflection over the years, what do you make of that sort of trajectory? not every, say, tradition or spirit yault couples those two things together. they couple other things together that represent their understanding of how the world functions in the most basic way. for you what is the trajectory of internal reflection moving into communal celebration of creation moving into communal and personal notions of yom kip
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year. what is that all about. >> i'm struck by the number of prayers that are actually in the mrural that we -- plural that we sometimes are praying in our own behalf but many more times we're speaking communally which in one way is interesting. if i haven't done that particular transaggression, somebody has here and we're all praying together and we work as a dmunt figure out what we need -- community to figure out what we need to be doing in the world to make our community reflect the values but it is interesting back and forth between them. there is a lot of personal, deep, work during this time and also such a sense that as a community, we need to think about how we help each other and how we lift our community as a whole. >> one thing i've thought about this year is how it is such a powerful and useful framework for really anyone, whether or not they're aligned with jewish
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tradition and i am fortunate to work in an agency that is multiple cultural and racial and in advance of the jewish holidays, give people information about what they are because are closed for some of those days and people should know and might have people talk to me about appreciating that invitation to learn and to reflect and rededicate and that they plan to do some of that this week in their own way. >> that is fantastic. we'll take a quick break and come back in just a moment to continue our conversation here on mosaic.
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. good morning. welcome back to mosaic. i'm rabbi weis. i'm in a wonderful conversation. it seems like every religious community when we come to a holiday whether it is a national holiday like thanksgiving or something particular like christmas or ramadan or the jewish high holy days that you see a lot about what makes up a community, that the con sellation kind of becomes more apparent and there is a way in which it also exposes on a personal and communal level a kind of spiritual and emoti
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vulnerability about what it means to be in the world and a person in the world and i'm wondering about those two things from your perspective. you work with people and the swath of the entire diversity of not just the jewish community but the entire community of the east bay and what do you see communally in the jewish community at this particular time of the year. >> it is interesting that there is a model that many in the jewish community hold on to that, what the jewish family looks like is two parents, a man and a woman, never been divorced, children who have biologically connected to them, et cetera. this is no longer the picture. that actually fits about 5% of the american jewish profile. >> 5%. >> so if we look at what the jewish family really looks like and what it has for awhile, we're all sorts of different pieces and broundz. we come from -- backgrounds we
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come from adoption, lgbt families it is much more diverse than people often think that it is and intermarriage is a key part of that as well. at this point we're hitting very high rates of intermarriage within the community and some are very panicked about this and what the jewish future might look like instead of seeing that this is an incredible diversity and vibe ransy that is -- vibrancy changing the community from within. people from friend backgrounds and constellations enlivening what judism is today. >> so if folks that are in an interfaith family which compromises some portion of the remaining 95% of the jewish community, how do they actually use the high holy days as an opportunity for their own family development and answering whatever questions they have in family decision make being what they do as a family? how do they reach you? >> on the one hand, what we try
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to do is connect people as much as possible. if folks have an idea in their minds that i'm not -- i'm not the one welcome, that is for other folks, i don't know enough or my family isn't going to be welcomed, we're here to show them the way to connect them with existing communities. we provide a list of all of the places in the bay area where there are high holy day services that are open and excited to have new folks perhaps for free that really want to bring neem the community themselves -- bring people into the community themselves. i meet with families individually to talk about how we can best navigate the questions together. i also encourage people to do their own introspection in the families that it is really very universal. things are universal. a dpam walk out in the wood -- a family can walk out in the woods or to a creek and think about what this past year was, what they want their life to be
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about, to be appreciative of every precious moment they have together it is a great time to do that whether or not you're sitting in a synagogue or somewhere else. >> fantastic. what is your perspective? >> i echo what michael is saying about the diversity of jewish families and it is wonderful and complicated and there are degrees, degree of affiliation and disaffiliation and alienation and whole range is there. for some people, this time of year is a time where they really feel deeply that this is an opportunity for new beginnings and a time for healing and honestly, for some people it is a painful time because it is a time when people are aware of a sense of family or communal connection that is not in their lives and so it is mixed and our
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role in our agency is to be of service, to be open for all of that and open to where they are to where they want to go, but it is not, it is not singular, or lynnar it is multiple layers and complicated and i think a lot of us have had to learn to not bring a lot of assumptions to it. and to learn how to be with people from where they are. but to really, but to offer when it is appropriate, that framework itself being, this being this time of new beginnings and a time for people to do something which everyone is interested in doing which is look at how their life and their actions are aligned with the values that they believe in. >> i'm wondering on the grander social communal level, jewish family services is an agency that in a technical sense is
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secular. it helps everybody on the other hand also informed by a particular understanding of the world that we call jewish values and i'm just wondering what that is for you, sort of being a jew in the world and a jewish agency in the world. >> we live right in the intersection and it is fantastic. being in a place and it is complicated and it has the challenges but we really are speaking, interacting with so many different people, i think that maybe a good example, eric; we do a tremendous amount of refugee resettlement work and to me, that speaks so directly to my understanding of jewish history an values that -- and values that we're in a concrete daily way welcoming the stranger right now, mostly people from
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afghanistan, people from lgbt refugees from different african countries and that is a very jewish activity for us. >> believe it or not, we have come to the end of our time together. we put a comma in the conversation and say to you thank you so much for joining us here on mosaic. have a wonderful day. captions by: caption colorado, llc 800-775-7838 email: comments@captioncolorado.com
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i love nature valley breakfast biscuits. idea......we would love to from y . hi everyone, welcome to bay sunday. i'm your host, frank, we begin with your weekly pitch. if you have a show idea we would love to hear from you. go to facebook.com/baysunday. put something on the page and hopefully we can get in touch. show time. she has been rocking the tv air ways for the better par three decades. did you know roberta gonzalez is more busy in her off hours hosting charity events and hitting the highway in a big way? she is an avid runner. on october the 5th she will be running her 30th marathon in port gull in honor of her late mother. it is

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